CULDROSE SEA KINGS GET READY FOR SOME FAST JET FIGHTING
Cornish aviators are getting set to hop across to Holland to polish their war fighting skills. Sailors from 849 Naval Air Squadron will this week take their Sea King MK 7 aircraft to Leeuwarden, where they will work closely with the fast jets of our European neighbours.
A team of 65 personnel are due to fly out to Leeuwarden this week, where the Culdrose aviators will be working with the fast jets of other European nations (in particular F-16s) and helping to ‘direct them’ in mock battles over the sea.
To prepare for their Holland adventure, the Royal Navy Sea Kings have been carrying out their routine training, whilst flying around the Cornish coast. This is where local photographer, Nick Martin caught them in action.
Using the powerful radar on the MK 7 Sea King helicopter, 849 personnel can detect and track targets of interest in the air, on the sea or on land. They can then direct other naval assets to deal with any situations arising. As qualified fighter controllers, they can also direct aircraft to intercept any threats to the airspace. It is this ‘fighter control’ skill that they will be practicing in Leeuwarden.
Currently, 849 Naval Air Squadron has Sea King helicopters and personnel deployed to the Gulf region. Some of those who will fly out to hone their ‘fighter control’ skills with the Dutch this month, will soon take over this ongoing operation.
Commanding Officer of 849, Commander Roger Kennedy said: “The Sea Kings at RNAS Culdrose are alive and kicking. The capability of my unit in terms of Airborne Surveillance and Control, or ASaC as it is more commonly known, is essential to Defence and we are still in as much demand as ever.”
Roger added: “We will all get a great deal from the exercises in Holland, especially those soon to deploy on real operations and personnel who will soon serve on the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers.”
“The junior Observers in particular are going to get some great training – some of the F-16s will be performing supersonic intercepts, so they are going to have to be quick to track them! It will also be great practise for those who will eventually work with the new F-35 Lightning II aircraft.”